Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe has taken to task Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (Mera) and Roads Authority (RA) to explain delays in acting on abuse of office allegations against the institutions’ bosses.
Gondwe confirmed in an interview on Monday that he met board chairpersons for the two parastatals in Lilongwe last Thursday.
While refusing to give details on the resolution of the meetings, the minister hinted that the affected officers would know their fate by next week.
Said Gondwe: “I was asking them [board chairpersons] why they have not acted. Of course, they have a number of reasons why they have not done so, but before end of next week, it will be done.”
He lamented the apparent slow progress on the issues, but said the demands from his office were a new way of doing business and, as Treasury, they have been facing resistance from civil servants.
“In fact, some civil servants are fighting against that. It is something new because it requires people to be sacked. That has not happened before in this country, but it will happen,” said Gondwe.
In March this year, our sister newspaper, the Weekend Nation revealed that Mera diverted K3 billion from the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) for State produce trader Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) to buy maize.
In the wake of the revelation, Gondwe described the decision as illegal.
Subsequently, Secretary to the Treasury Ronald Mangani, in a letter dated May 19 2016 addressed to Mera board chairperson Bishop Joseph Bvumbwe, demanded that the money be refunded to PSF and immediate suspension as well as prosecution of key officers involved.
In the case of RA, the institution’s chief executive officer (CEO) Engineer Trevor Hiwa is accused of awarding a K217 million contract in a World Bank-funded project to Infracom Limited, a company in which he is said to have an interest.
Like in the case of Mera, Mangani also wrote RA board chairperson Jackson Gomani to discipline Hiwa.
In an interview yesterday, Bvumbwe confirmed the Ministry of Finance query on the perceived inaction against Mera CEO Ralph Kamoto and his team.
He said the Mera board instituted a committee which, however, faced some challenges that have delayed progress on the matter.
On the other hand, Gomani promised to call back when queried. However, as we went to press, he had not yet called.
Besides Mera and RA, there have also been reports of abuse of office and funds at the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) where government has since appointed a three-member panel to investigate the transactions.